Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Dogs in Medieval Illuminations and Manuscripts

Having written a post on dogs in medieval tapestries, my mind naturally wandered to dogs in manuscripts and illuminations. Here is a short list of favorites:

 Four dogs before a doghouse in a book of fables, 
German, late 1400s. J. Paul Getty Museum
Note the chapel attached to the dog house.  The dogs must have
been Protestants since Catholics didn't believe dogs went to heaven.
(See my post on which religions believe dogs go to heaven.)

A manuscript that illustrate the four types of dogs: 
Shepherd's Dog, Stag Hound (sighthound), Hare Hound (scent hound) and Guard Dog

Dogs chasing prey were frequently used to illustrate the margins of manuscripts.
Dog chasing a hare

I like this one from about 1400, because the dogs are playing. One has a ball.
 Reader's correction: Oops. Apparently that's not a ball at all.  Nor is the animal on the right a dog.  It's a beaver (did the artist ever even see a real beaver)  with it's own testicles in its mouth.  Ouch.
Long story.  But a good one. Read about it in Wired.

Boar Hunting, French, 14th century

Dogs were helpful in agricultural chores. Here is a giant hound enjoying the making of cheese, 14th century from the tacuinum sanitatis medieval handbook on wellness. It's based on an 11th century Arab medical treatise describing the beneficial and harmful properties of foods and plants.

Written in the late 1590s by renowned hunting authority Gaston Phebus who owned 1600 dogs, the illustrated book below is a hunting treatise devoted to the training and care of dogs.

Neither a manuscript nor illumination, but too cute to exclude. 
Leaded Glass Window, Cologne, about 1520

This is a good book about dogs in the middle ages - Medieval Dogs
 By Kathleen Walker-Meikle
Also, check out the on-line Getty Museum exhibit - Mans best friend? Dogs in Medieval Art

1 comment:

  1. Great examples. I used to collect ones I found to use as inspiration for designs, wonderful for folk art.